Double disaster for Ferrari

It was a tough day at the office for Felipe Massa

It was a tough day at the office for Felipe Massa

Ferrari got their 2009 season off to a terrible start in Melbourne.

Felipe Massa retired late in the race and Kimi Raikkonen lost a points finish after spinning into the barriers.

The race began brightly for the team as Massa shot through from sixth on the grid to third. Raikkonen also started strongly, running fifth.

The Ferraris opted to run on the super-soft tyres from the start of the race, and when they hit their graining phase after a few laps they found their rivals coming back at them.

A mid-race safety car period allowed them to regain lost ground on the leaders but also compromised their strategy. Massa dropped out of the points after his second pit stop and struggled to make progress. He may already have been suffering with the mechanical problem that put him out of the race 13 laps before the finish.

Raikkonen’s race was ruined by a crash on lap 43. He managed to keep going after an extra pit stop but pulled up three laps short of the chequered flag.

Ferrari made a similarly poor start last year, and ended up winning the constructors’ championship, so you’d be a fool to write them off yet. But it seems the errors that blighted their 2008 campaign haven’t been banished.

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52 comments on Double disaster for Ferrari

  1. SoLiD said on 29th March 2009, 14:52

    I think Ferrari got it right with the tyres.
    Look at Kubica in the end, when he could run the harder tyres in the last stint!

  2. Eduardo Colombi said on 29th March 2009, 14:59

    Really think that way too SoLiD.

  3. pSynrg said on 29th March 2009, 15:28

    Thing is, Kimi won his WDC by the skin of his teeth and also the failure of others to capitalise on what they had at the time.
    Other than that he has been very similar to his McLaren years. Wickedly fast when he was/is on it but somehow plagued by more reliability issues and/or incidents than appears ‘normal’.
    I really like Kimi as a character but remain unconvinced by his overal quality as an F1 driver.

  4. The Limit said on 29th March 2009, 15:33

    Ferrari are just too good a team to be written off just yet, but they, like McLaren, have issues they need to address and quickly. The truth is, they just were not fast enough to challenge Brawn Gp for the spoils, and that will rankle them. Seeing McLaren struggling is no consulation if their own cars are not up to pace.

  5. sigma said on 29th March 2009, 16:01

    well, looking what brawn gp can do, ferrari should be extremely aware to get the constructor champion again..

  6. kurtosis said on 29th March 2009, 16:02


    I agree. If there was one person the new (now scrapped) point system would have helped, it was RAI. Volatile pilots have an advantage in that system.

    Kimi never really delivered on the potential that others saw in him; but from his perspective, that would be the others’ problem, not his. He’s just having a good time going fast. For some reason I respect that attitude, there is something unsightly (if that’s the word) about seeing a overly hungry and dedicated driver (at least to me :)). For Kimi, the WDC was almost a side-effect of him simply enjoying racing.

  7. Nick said on 29th March 2009, 16:30

    idk, I seem to remember Michael & Mika crashing a few times. Kimi is still the best driver on the grid by far. Kubica’s botched pass on Vettal was terrible, Heidfeld passes a lot better than him…Alonso, ***? he did nothing. Hamilton? collected points? Rubens? in two crashes, thank god for the fastest car mate and dnfs. Jenson? would have lost the race most likely if Kubica, once again didn’t botch the pass.

  8. darren said on 29th March 2009, 16:33

    DOH !!!!!!

  9. kurtosis said on 29th March 2009, 17:14

    @ Nick, to add to your list:

    ….and Kimi made an unforced error and spun out.

    If all drivers had the same car, I think Kimi would set the fastest lap. But that’s about it. I’m not convinced he’s particularly world-class at racecraft, nursing the car, passing moves, defensive driving, or any of the other things that are required when, you know, there are other drivers on the track.

    • Nick said on 29th March 2009, 17:37

      of course, I was adding to everyones list that only had Kimi making mistakes….if you don’t think Kimi has racecraft then I’m not sure what you’ve been watching the past few years?!?

      also, some said Kimi won 2007 by the skin of his teeth?!? with his 6 wins over everyone else? how about Hamilton only winning by the skin of his teeth last year?

    • pSynrg said on 29th March 2009, 20:56

      I agree Nick, Lewis DID only just win by the skin of his teeth also. But it was only his second season in F1!
      2007 was Kimi’s 7th season!

      In this context, Lewis’s errors were simply those of a rookie learning his craft. What are Kimi’s reasons?

  10. Daniel said on 29th March 2009, 17:26

    It just shows Raikkonen is still inconsistent, and Massa, on the other hand, is getting better and better, and his retirement wasn’t his fault. He was skilful enough to hold Rosberg and Kubica just before his first pit stop. It’s a shame he didn’t finish.

  11. kurtosis said on 29th March 2009, 17:48

    @ Nick: Sure, I was just pointing out that his error was unforced, unlike your examples which tended to happen on passing moves.

    He does have racecraft, but certainly not the best on the circuit. Of course, no driver has it all. He’s fast, no doubt.

    Good point about him racking up 6 wins over the others’ 4 each in 2007.

  12. kurtosis said on 29th March 2009, 18:17

    Sorry, just wanted to add:

    If you want to gauge the difference in racecraft between RAI and the rest of the top runners (ALO, HAM, Montoya, Schum, etc.) just look at the number of instances you can find of RAI making a passing maneuver on YouTube. Then do a search with Montoya, Alonso, and Hamilton. The latter group have made significantly higher number of good moves.

    • Nick said on 29th March 2009, 18:40

      I don’t agree with that, Hamilton has made moves maybe when coming from the back…but Kimi did that quite a lot in 2005. I’ve never seen him make a decent pass for the lead like Kimi. Alonso, other than on Massa in the ring…can’t recall anythings special, Kimi made lots of passes in 2006 in the midfield so not sure what you’re talking about. Also, Kimi in singapore last year? made his way up to 5th while Massa stayed at the back….

  13. i’m just happy both ferraris DNFs..:O

  14. Alex P said on 29th March 2009, 20:03

    i think even with this let down today for ferrari i think that ferrari will get up to speed. it is good to see that the cars with out the large diffuser had desent race pace once the mods come in the will be quite close.

  15. Chris Dyer of Ferrari (Kimi’s engineer last year) said that the diff was probably the reason Kimi spun into the wall. Kimi accepted the blame, though he did say the back end suddenly let go without warning. Kimi seldom makes excuses and usually takes the blame for whatever goes wrong. He’s fast and does not whine like some others.

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